‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Hits NJ Theaters

December 18, 2015 | Arts & Entertainment
The highly-anticipated addition to the beloved franchise meant sold-out screenings across the state Thursday night.

By Maddie Orton
Arts Correspondent

It is a big day for “Star Wars” fans: the official release of “The Force Awakens.”

“I can’t wait to see it,” says Star Wars fan Paul Reith. “I’ve been waiting for years to see this movie.”

The highly-anticipated addition to the beloved franchise meant sold-out screenings across the state last night, and not just at midnight, but as early as 7 p.m.

At the AMC Loews Theatre in Jersey City, Kevin Rodriguez, Jr. is taking advantage of the early screening on a school night.

“I feel great. I’ve been dying to watch this new movie since it came out–the trailers,” says Rodriguez. “I saw all six movies and I want to see the last movie today.”

“He’s going to be going to school sleepy tomorrow,” jokes dad Kevin Rodriguez, Sr.

But any concern about a sleepy Friday is no match for fandom and concerns over the film itself. The last three films in the series — the prequel trilogy — were met with criticism. This is also the first major “Star Wars” movie since Disney bought Lucasfilm three years ago.

“We’re worried that it’s going to be maybe a little too kid-friendly, maybe lose some of the stuff that was in the original movies…charm I wouldn’t say, but action maybe,” says fan Kelliann Cirone.

“I’m trying to be hopefully optimistic. I really like the “Star Trek” that J.J. Abrams did,” says fan Ali Colluccio. “I know there are the prequels, and there are people who love them, but I love princess Leia, and I want to see what she’s up to.”

One thing that may make this experience different for fans, signs like these welcoming costumes, but banning face paint, masks, and simulated weapons over safety concerns.

“It would’ve made some awesome photos, but what are you going to do? I guess it’s a safety concern for everybody,” says fan Emily Saranovic.

As far as reactions to the film go, initial reviews have been great. And anecdotally…

“I think it was really, really good,” says Adinah Lagud, one of the first to see the film in New Jersey. “I’m still kind of ‘Oooooooo!’ I feel like I’m ten.”

According to movie theater ticketing site Fandango, “The Force Awakens” has already broken the site’s record for ticket sales.

Read NJTV News’ review of “The Force Awakens” here.